Our only source of power

We can’t live a powerful life on our own.

After Jesus died and rose again — proving that He had power over death and could provide eternal life — — He knew that we could not live the Christian life on our own strength. Any attempts to do what Jesus did or be who Jesus was would be short-lived and not produce miraculous results. Look at how the different translations talk about flesh (human effort) in John 6:63.

New International Version
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.

New Living Translation
The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing.

English Standard Version
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.

Berean Standard Bible
The Spirit gives life; the flesh profits nothing. 

Counts for nothing. Accomplishes nothing. No help at all. Profits nothing. These are dismal descriptions that we do not want to be true about our lives. But let’s go back and take a look at another source of power.

The Spirit brings life!

New International Version
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.

New Living Translation
The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing.

English Standard Version
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.

Berean Standard Bible
The Spirit gives life; the flesh profits nothing.

“Gives life” is the description three times — and one translation makes sure we know the Spirit ALONE gives life. There is no other source. Because Jesus knew we had no power in ourselves, He sent His Spirit to indwell anyone who placed their faith in Him.

Jesus asked the Father to send the Spirit 

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— (John 14:6)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

We can do NOTHING.

By “nothing,” the Bible means we have no power to produce a particular effect from our actions. We can’t make things turn out well! We can’t reflect the character of God without God Himself doing so through us.

To all the capable people out there who live productive lives — we think we have the power to be productive, but we can’t. Every time something goes well, it is a gift from God, not a result of our hard work. For example, the only reason I had productive days this past week was because my car started every time I turned the key, I didn’t get a flat tire or get in an accident, and the internet and phone worked every time I needed them. At the end of the day when I thought, “I got so much done today!” it is only because things that I have no control over happened to cooperate with me. The accurate statement for each of us can say is, “God allowed me to get so much done today!”

In the last few weeks, I have had some near misses. A large pickup barreled through a red light and nearly took me out as I was making a left on a green arrow. (The driver followed me to the dry cleaners and apologized, admitting he hadn’t seen the light.) I was leaving a friend’s garage on a rainy day when my damp shoes caused me to slip on the slick garage floor and wipe out. I could have been hurt badly. Each of us is also one good storm away from things not working out. In a recent thunderstorm, a neighbor’s tree was struck by lightning. Electrical appliances in their house were damaged. Pipes sprung leaks, holes burned through dry wall, and a car in the driveway was damaged. Meanwhile, I continued onward with a productive day from my address two doors away while life came to a halt for them. I was only productive because our tree and appliances weren’t struck by lightning. I can take no credit for that protection. (My husband made a full course meal for them that we delivered the next day.)

The Spirit can do everything.

  • We can’t love well, but the Spirit can.
  • We can’t produce results with our actions, but the Spirit can.
  • We can’t make any of our conversations cause someone to want to know Jesus, but the Spirit can.
  • We can’t be patient, make our life inspire someone, love an enemy, or make someone want to live well for God, but the Spirit can.

The Holy Spirit that Jesus sent can make our life count! The Spirit accomplishes what we cannot.  What a gift He is. Read this prayer and then pray it if you wish: Holy Spirit, saturate and flow through every part of me and be who people interact with today. I invite your power to spin all of my efforts and circumstances into a life that glorifies your name, contributes to the Kingdom of God, and produces fruit that lasts forever.

Picture Explanation: A bunch of separate ingredients turn into a delicious meal when placed in the hands of a professional chef who knows how to arrange the food and use heat just right. Kind of reminds me of how God takes the pieces of our lives and combines them in ways that make our lives matter.

Speaking of living a life that counts for eternity: If you are interested in
being contacted to participate in a One Gritty Blink Bible study, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and contact me by email so I can place you on a list to be contacted as online and face-to-face studies are planned. Let’s not just focus on things in this short life, but also what counts for eternity!

Note: No part of my posts are derived from A.I. Thoughts and writing stem from my mind and heart as I process life week-by-week and continue to grow in my understanding of God and how to apply His wisdom to the world around me.   

© 2023 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.   

6 Responses

  1. Laurie,

    Thank you so much for reminding me about John 14:6.

    Happy Trails and Happy 4th❣️

    1. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth* and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
      You’re welcome!

  2. This is so true! The Lord is so faithful to help us and protect us when we keep our focus on Him instead of our “to do” list, so the Holy Spirit can guide our hearts and our steps! Thank you for this reminder, Laurie!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the reminder! Humans have no power to produce particular results from our actions. You have been living that reality. Only God.

  3. Hi, Laurie! I like your reminder in this post that a lot of times things go “well” for us because “life” cooperates. Funny how we think a day is “good” when it goes our way and “bad” when we experience trouble. We aren’t supposed to be surprised by trouble! Trouble is NORMAL! Leaning on the Spirit is GOOD!

    I love your bullet points, too. We just CAN’T without Him!

    1. I am glad you noticed that sentence in particular! Yay! You are correct. Trouble is NORMAL. Whatever today brings, we have all we need in Him alone. I am so tired of thinking I can handle anything at all without Him.

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Planting and Watering

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes growth.

1 Corinthians 3:6

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